NASA History

NASA History Learn the history of NASA's exploration of the universe and its many discoveries about our home planet. This is the NASA History Office's official page.

Share our passion for aerospace history!

Operating as usual

Astronaut John Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, became the first Native American to go to space #OTD aboard...
11/23/2021

Astronaut John Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, became the first Native American to go to space #OTD aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113).

He took a piece of history to space with him that day - a traditional Chickasaw flute, seen below.

#NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

November is #NationalAviationHistoryMonth! Check out this photo of an XB-70A landing at NASA Dryden (Now NASA's Armstron...
11/23/2021

November is #NationalAviationHistoryMonth! Check out this photo of an XB-70A landing at NASA Dryden (Now NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center) during research testing. At the time it was the largest experimental aircraft in the world, and it could reach speeds of Mach 3, making it the perfect test aircraft for future supersonic flight.

November is #NationalAviationHistoryMonth! Check out this photo of an XB-70A landing at NASA Dryden (Now NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center) during research testing. At the time it was the largest experimental aircraft in the world, and it could reach speeds of Mach 3, making it the perfect test aircraft for future supersonic flight.

"I stopped and looked at it...looked back and up at this beautiful rocket, and thought, “Well, okay buster, let’s go and...
11/19/2021

"I stopped and looked at it...looked back and up at this beautiful rocket, and thought, “Well, okay buster, let’s go and get the job done.”

Today we remember astronaut Alan Shepard on his #birthday.

On May 5, 1961, Alan became the first American to journey into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft. While at NASA, Alan also served as the Chief of the Astronaut Office and as the commander of Apollo 14.

Read his oral history!https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/ShepardAB/ABS_2-20-98.pdf

"I stopped and looked at it...looked back and up at this beautiful rocket, and thought, “Well, okay buster, let’s go and get the job done.”

Today we remember astronaut Alan Shepard on his #birthday.

On May 5, 1961, Alan became the first American to journey into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft. While at NASA, Alan also served as the Chief of the Astronaut Office and as the commander of Apollo 14.

Read his oral history!https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/ShepardAB/ABS_2-20-98.pdf

Reverend Nick Miles, Tecumseh Red Cloud, Pamunkey Tribe, performed a traditional Algonquian chant at a naming ceremony f...
11/17/2021

Reverend Nick Miles, Tecumseh Red Cloud, Pamunkey Tribe, performed a traditional Algonquian chant at a naming ceremony for 2014 MU69, a celestial body discovered by the New Horizons mission. The new name, “Arrokoth,” means “sky” and is from the Algonquian Languages, spoken by the Powhatan tribes of the region of Maryland where it was discovered.
#NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

Reverend Nick Miles, Tecumseh Red Cloud, Pamunkey Tribe, performed a traditional Algonquian chant at a naming ceremony for 2014 MU69, a celestial body discovered by the New Horizons mission. The new name, “Arrokoth,” means “sky” and is from the Algonquian Languages, spoken by the Powhatan tribes of the region of Maryland where it was discovered.
#NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

This month in 1572, the brightest naked-eye supernova in more than 400 years was observed around the world in the conste...
11/16/2021

This month in 1572, the brightest naked-eye supernova in more than 400 years was observed around the world in the constellation Cassiopeia. This phenomenon was named "Tycho's supernova" after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

Learn more about the supernova: https://go.nasa.gov/3oCYRzX

This month in 1572, the brightest naked-eye supernova in more than 400 years was observed around the world in the constellation Cassiopeia. This phenomenon was named "Tycho's supernova" after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

Learn more about the supernova: https://go.nasa.gov/3oCYRzX

Happy Birthday to astronaut TJ Creamer! TJ was selected as an astronaut in 1998, and served on the crew of Expedition 22...
11/16/2021

Happy Birthday to astronaut TJ Creamer! TJ was selected as an astronaut in 1998, and served on the crew of Expedition 22/23, totaling 163 days in space. He was also the first person to ever send a live tweet from orbit, and was selected as a flight director at @NASA_Johnson in 2015!

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Mariner 9 becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet!During its mission, ...
11/13/2021

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Mariner 9 becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet!

During its mission, the spacecraft mapped out 85% of Mars' surface, collected data on the composition of the atmosphere, and sent back over 7,000 photos.

Mariner 9's mission officially ended in October 1972, but it remains in orbit until 2022, when it is projected to fall out of orbit and into the Martian atmosphere.

After two delays, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched #OTD in 1981 on STS-2. Today marks the 40th anniversary!Over the c...
11/12/2021

After two delays, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched #OTD in 1981 on STS-2. Today marks the 40th anniversary!

Over the course of two days, astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly demonstrated the safe re-launch and return of the orbiter. They verified the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle- orbiter, solid rocket boosters and external tank.

Today is also Richard Truly's birthday!

Did you know that NASA actually began as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)? NACA was formed in 1915...
11/10/2021

Did you know that NASA actually began as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)? NACA was formed in 1915 to "supervise & direct the scientific study of the problems of flight"

Keep an eye out for more aeronautics history during this #NationalAviationHistoryMonth!

Did you know that NASA actually began as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)? NACA was formed in 1915 to "supervise & direct the scientific study of the problems of flight"

Keep an eye out for more aeronautics history during this #NationalAviationHistoryMonth!

The "NASA and the Navajo Nation" ProjectIn January 2005, NASA met with leaders of the Navajo Nation to discuss an educat...
11/10/2021

The "NASA and the Navajo Nation" Project

In January 2005, NASA met with leaders of the Navajo Nation to discuss an educational partnership focusing on both scientific and cultural knowledge. This partnership is still active today and includes NASA scientists, Navajo Medicine Men, and both NASA and Navajo educators!

Learn more about this education initiative: https://go.nasa.gov/2YzfVxJ

#OTD in 1961, pilot Robert White became the first person to reach Mach 6! He achieved this impressive feat in the X-15 a...
11/10/2021

#OTD in 1961, pilot Robert White became the first person to reach Mach 6! He achieved this impressive feat in the X-15 aircraft.

Image 1: Bob in a special X-15 flight suit in front of the aircraft

Image 2: The cracked canopy glass on right side of X-15 after the Mach 6 flight.

Learn more about Robert White: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/Features/robert_white.html

November is Native American Heritage Month! Today's feature is Mary Ross, a Native American and member of the Cherokee N...
11/09/2021

November is Native American Heritage Month!

Today's feature is Mary Ross, a Native American and member of the Cherokee Nation. She began working for Lockheed Martin in 1941 as a mathematician and was a founding member of Lockheed's Skunk Works program.

In addition to her work with Skunk Works, she helped write NASA's Planetary Flight Handbook Vol. III (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19700019224) for travel to Mars and Venus. After her retirement in 1973, she worked to have more Native Americans in the sciences. In 2019, she featured on a special 1 dollar coin seen below.

Painting: “Ad Astra per Astra” Portrait of Mary Golda Ross, by America Meredith, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40", 2011, from the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Coin: Courtesy the US Mint

Amelia Earhart visited NACA (the predecessor of NASA) #OTD in 1928. During her tour of Langley in November 1928, Amelia ...
11/05/2021

Amelia Earhart visited NACA (the predecessor of NASA) #OTD in 1928. During her tour of Langley in November 1928, Amelia Earhart had part of her coat sucked into the 11 Inch High Speed Tunnel! This photo was taken on the steps of the Langley Research Building.

Amelia Earhart visited NACA (the predecessor of NASA) #OTD in 1928. During her tour of Langley in November 1928, Amelia Earhart had part of her coat sucked into the 11 Inch High Speed Tunnel! This photo was taken on the steps of the Langley Research Building.

The Galileo spacecraft made a flyby of Jupiter’s second-largest moon Callisto #OTD in 1996. Despite its unassuming appea...
11/04/2021

The Galileo spacecraft made a flyby of Jupiter’s second-largest moon Callisto #OTD in 1996. Despite its unassuming appearance, Callisto may have a secret: a salty ocean beneath its surface that could possibly harbor life!

To learn more about Callisto: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/jupiter-moons/callisto/overview/

The Galileo spacecraft made a flyby of Jupiter’s second-largest moon Callisto #OTD in 1996. Despite its unassuming appearance, Callisto may have a secret: a salty ocean beneath its surface that could possibly harbor life!

To learn more about Callisto: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/jupiter-moons/callisto/overview/

Explorer 8 was launched from Cape Canaveral #OTD in 1960. Did you know that due to some difficulties, the mission's data...
11/03/2021

Explorer 8 was launched from Cape Canaveral #OTD in 1960. Did you know that due to some difficulties, the mission's data were mostly processed by hand? Don't worry, the satellite still provided scientists with lots of new info about the ionosphere!

Learn more! https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=1960-014A

Explorer 8 was launched from Cape Canaveral #OTD in 1960. Did you know that due to some difficulties, the mission's data were mostly processed by hand? Don't worry, the satellite still provided scientists with lots of new info about the ionosphere!

Learn more! https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=1960-014A

Expedition 1 docked aboard the International Space Station #OTD in 2000 - marking the beginning of humanity's continuous...
11/02/2021

Expedition 1 docked aboard the International Space Station #OTD in 2000 - marking the beginning of humanity's continuous presence in space! The crew, astronaut William Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, spent a little over 4 months in the ISS before returning home to Earth.

Happy Birthday to astronaut Jan Davis! She worked as an aerospace engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center before...
11/01/2021

Happy Birthday to astronaut Jan Davis! She worked as an aerospace engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center before becoming an astronaut in 1987 and flew on three spaceflights (STS-47, STS-60, and STS-85), logging over 673 hours in space.

In the past our astronauts have celebrated Halloween by dressing up. They have worn all sorts of costumes to space: from...
10/31/2021

In the past our astronauts have celebrated Halloween by dressing up. They have worn all sorts of costumes to space: from superheroes to pirates to their fellow crew members, the sky's the limit!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Not afraid to break the ice (plume)!#OTD in 2015, Cassini performed a flyby of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus. T...
10/28/2021

Not afraid to break the ice (plume)!

#OTD in 2015, Cassini performed a flyby of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus. The daring flyby through the moon's icy plume allowed Cassini to obtain accurate measurements of the plume’s composition.

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/12546/deepest-ever-dive-through-enceladus-plume-completed/

Not afraid to break the ice (plume)!

#OTD in 2015, Cassini performed a flyby of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus. The daring flyby through the moon's icy plume allowed Cassini to obtain accurate measurements of the plume’s composition.

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/12546/deepest-ever-dive-through-enceladus-plume-completed/

The North American F-51D Mustang (previously a P-51D) was photographed on Rogers Dry Lake at the NACA High-Speed Flight ...
10/27/2021

The North American F-51D Mustang (previously a P-51D) was photographed on Rogers Dry Lake at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station in 1955. it was used as a proficiency aircraft at the High-Speed Flight Station.

Learn more: https://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/P-51/HTML/E55-2078.html

The North American F-51D Mustang (previously a P-51D) was photographed on Rogers Dry Lake at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station in 1955. it was used as a proficiency aircraft at the High-Speed Flight Station.

Learn more: https://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/P-51/HTML/E55-2078.html

Happy Birthday to astronaut Michael Baker! He completed four spaceflights during his career as an astronaut and logged o...
10/27/2021

Happy Birthday to astronaut Michael Baker! He completed four spaceflights during his career as an astronaut and logged over 965 hours in space. Michael served as pilot on STS-43 and
STS-52, and was the mission commander on STS-68 and STS-81.

Happy Birthday to astronaut Michael Baker! He completed four spaceflights during his career as an astronaut and logged over 965 hours in space. Michael served as pilot on STS-43 and
STS-52, and was the mission commander on STS-68 and STS-81.

"[T]here’s almost no accomplishment in human history that is really creditable to one person. Once in a while something ...
10/25/2021

"[T]here’s almost no accomplishment in human history that is really creditable to one person. Once in a while something happens. Generally what happens is everybody adds a little piece, and I'm happy to have added a bunch of little pieces here, there, and the other place."

Happy Birthday to astronaut Russell L. “Rusty” Schweickart! A research scientist and a fighter pilot, Schweickart was selected as an astronaut in 1963 and served as the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 9 mission.

Read hist oral history: https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/SchweickartRL/SchweickartRL_3-8-00.htm

"[T]here’s almost no accomplishment in human history that is really creditable to one person. Once in a while something happens. Generally what happens is everybody adds a little piece, and I'm happy to have added a bunch of little pieces here, there, and the other place."

Happy Birthday to astronaut Russell L. “Rusty” Schweickart! A research scientist and a fighter pilot, Schweickart was selected as an astronaut in 1963 and served as the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 9 mission.

Read hist oral history: https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/SchweickartRL/SchweickartRL_3-8-00.htm

#OTD in 1671, astronomer Giovanni Cassini discovered Saturn's moon Iapetus. At the time, Iapetus would seem brighter at ...
10/25/2021

#OTD in 1671, astronomer Giovanni Cassini discovered Saturn's moon Iapetus. At the time, Iapetus would seem brighter at some points in its orbit and darker at others. This is because Iapetus has a much lower reflectivity on its leading side compared to its trailing side.

#OTD in 1671, astronomer Giovanni Cassini discovered Saturn's moon Iapetus. At the time, Iapetus would seem brighter at some points in its orbit and darker at others. This is because Iapetus has a much lower reflectivity on its leading side compared to its trailing side.

Apollo 7 splashed down #OTD in 1968 in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Bermuda. Did you know that the Apollo 7 mission s...
10/22/2021

Apollo 7 splashed down #OTD in 1968 in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Bermuda.

Did you know that the Apollo 7 mission saw the first live TV broadcast of Americans from space?

Learn more about television broadcasting during the Apollo program:https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/ApolloTV-Acrobat7.pdf

Apollo 7 splashed down #OTD in 1968 in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Bermuda.

Did you know that the Apollo 7 mission saw the first live TV broadcast of Americans from space?

Learn more about television broadcasting during the Apollo program:https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/ApolloTV-Acrobat7.pdf

The 1st known interstellar object to enter our solar system was identified using the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 ...
10/21/2021

The 1st known interstellar object to enter our solar system was identified using the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope this week in 2017. The object (artist rendering below) was named ‘Oumuamua which is Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first.”

This photo was taken by one of the Expedition 7 crew members aboard the ISS #OTD in 2003. It shows a Soyuz TMA-3 spacecr...
10/20/2021

This photo was taken by one of the Expedition 7 crew members aboard the ISS #OTD in 2003. It shows a Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft as it prepares to dock with the ISS, carrying crew members from Expedition 8.

This photo was taken by one of the Expedition 7 crew members aboard the ISS #OTD in 2003. It shows a Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft as it prepares to dock with the ISS, carrying crew members from Expedition 8.

#OTD in 1947, Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager made history by breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 aircraft!Learn m...
10/14/2021

#OTD in 1947, Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager made history by breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 aircraft!

Learn more about this amazing feat here: https://go.nasa.gov/30mhdwl

#OTD in 1947, Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager made history by breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 aircraft!

Learn more about this amazing feat here: https://go.nasa.gov/30mhdwl

This week in 1984, astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to complete a spacewalk! During STS-41G, S...
10/13/2021

This week in 1984, astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to complete a spacewalk!

During STS-41G, Sullivan and crewmate David Leestma performed a 3-hour extravehicular activity (EVA) that proved the feasibility of refueling satellites in orbit.

This week in 1984, astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to complete a spacewalk!

During STS-41G, Sullivan and crewmate David Leestma performed a 3-hour extravehicular activity (EVA) that proved the feasibility of refueling satellites in orbit.

"The Walt, Wally, and Donn Show!"Apollo 7 lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at @NASAKennedy this week in 1968. It was th...
10/12/2021

"The Walt, Wally, and Donn Show!"

Apollo 7 lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at @NASAKennedy this week in 1968. It was the first crewed Apollo flight, carrying astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walt Cunningham into space as they tested the Command and Service Module.

"The Walt, Wally, and Donn Show!"

Apollo 7 lifted off from Launch Complex 34 at @NASAKennedy this week in 1968. It was the first crewed Apollo flight, carrying astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walt Cunningham into space as they tested the Command and Service Module.

Address

Hidden Figures Way
Washington D.C., DC
20546

General information

If you're looking for the official source of information about the NASA History Office, please visit our page at www.nasa.gov/history.

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm

Telephone

(202) 358-0384

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when NASA History posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to NASA History:

Videos

NASA History - Our Story

This is the NASA History Office's official page. Want to see what we’ve been up to for our first 60 years?


Comments

Astronaut John Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, became the first Native American to go to space #OTD aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113). He took a piece of history to space with him that day - a traditional Chickasaw flute, seen below. #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth
November is #NationalAviationHistoryMonth! Check out this photo of an XB-70A landing at NASA Dryden (Now NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center) during research testing. At the time it was the largest experimental aircraft in the world, and it could reach speeds of Mach 3, making it the perfect test aircraft for future supersonic flight.
"I stopped and looked at it...looked back and up at this beautiful rocket, and thought, “Well, okay buster, let’s go and get the job done.” Today we remember astronaut Alan Shepard on his #birthday. On May 5, 1961, Alan became the first American to journey into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft. While at NASA, Alan also served as the Chief of the Astronaut Office and as the commander of Apollo 14. Read his oral history!https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/ShepardAB/ABS_2-20-98.pdf
Reverend Nick Miles, Tecumseh Red Cloud, Pamunkey Tribe, performed a traditional Algonquian chant at a naming ceremony for 2014 MU69, a celestial body discovered by the New Horizons mission. The new name, “Arrokoth,” means “sky” and is from the Algonquian Languages, spoken by the Powhatan tribes of the region of Maryland where it was discovered. #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth
This month in 1572, the brightest naked-eye supernova in more than 400 years was observed around the world in the constellation Cassiopeia. This phenomenon was named "Tycho's supernova" after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Learn more about the supernova: https://go.nasa.gov/3oCYRzX
Happy Birthday to astronaut TJ Creamer! TJ was selected as an astronaut in 1998, and served on the crew of Expedition 22/23, totaling 163 days in space. He was also the first person to ever send a live tweet from orbit, and was selected as a flight director at @NASA_Johnson in 2015!
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Mariner 9 becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet! During its mission, the spacecraft mapped out 85% of Mars' surface, collected data on the composition of the atmosphere, and sent back over 7,000 photos. Mariner 9's mission officially ended in October 1972, but it remains in orbit until 2022, when it is projected to fall out of orbit and into the Martian atmosphere.
After two delays, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched #OTD in 1981 on STS-2. Today marks the 40th anniversary! Over the course of two days, astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly demonstrated the safe re-launch and return of the orbiter. They verified the combined performance of the entire shuttle vehicle- orbiter, solid rocket boosters and external tank. Today is also Richard Truly's birthday!
Did you know that NASA actually began as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)? NACA was formed in 1915 to "supervise & direct the scientific study of the problems of flight" Keep an eye out for more aeronautics history during this #NationalAviationHistoryMonth!
The "NASA and the Navajo Nation" Project In January 2005, NASA met with leaders of the Navajo Nation to discuss an educational partnership focusing on both scientific and cultural knowledge. This partnership is still active today and includes NASA scientists, Navajo Medicine Men, and both NASA and Navajo educators! Learn more about this education initiative: https://go.nasa.gov/2YzfVxJ
#OTD in 1961, pilot Robert White became the first person to reach Mach 6! He achieved this impressive feat in the X-15 aircraft. Image 1: Bob in a special X-15 flight suit in front of the aircraft Image 2: The cracked canopy glass on right side of X-15 after the Mach 6 flight. Learn more about Robert White: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/Features/robert_white.html
November is Native American Heritage Month! Today's feature is Mary Ross, a Native American and member of the Cherokee Nation. She began working for Lockheed Martin in 1941 as a mathematician and was a founding member of Lockheed's Skunk Works program. In addition to her work with Skunk Works, she helped write NASA's Planetary Flight Handbook Vol. III (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19700019224) for travel to Mars and Venus. After her retirement in 1973, she worked to have more Native Americans in the sciences. In 2019, she featured on a special 1 dollar coin seen below. Painting: “Ad Astra per Astra” Portrait of Mary Golda Ross, by America Meredith, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40", 2011, from the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Coin: Courtesy the US Mint